Memorandum submitted by The Welfare Association
The Welfare Association is grateful for the
opportunity to put its views on record concerning the priorities
of UK Development Assistance to Palestine as a means to strengthen
the infrastructure of Palestinian development.
The Welfare Association has been working with
the Palestinian civil society in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon
since 1983 in developing human resources, institutional building,
supporting the preservation of culture and heritage in the Old
City of Jerusalem and other historic cities, and also in the field
of emergency and relief whenever the need arose, implementing
medical, educational, social and humanitarian emergency assistance
and creating employment opportunities disbursing more than $125
million dollars to over 400 beneficiary agencies/NGOs over the
past 20 years, with $30 million to be disbursed in the year 2003
The peace process, a baby that was born in an
Oslo maternity clinic in September 1993, was supported by so many
countries acting as obstetricians, midwives, and paediatriciansof
which the UK was a major advocate and supporter. The baby, having
recently received major injuries as a result of a dominant and
muscular father battering a desperate mother in an attempt to
obtain total submission, is currently in an intensive care incubator
and on a life-support machine, unable to breathe without major
The American consultant paediatric surgeon,
who is the only one with abilities to operate on and save the
baby's life, is currently engaged in major reconstructive surgery
in Iraq (with the British nurse wiping his continuously sweating
forehead) and therefore his hands are currently completely tied.
So as the killing, injuring and disabling of
relatively large numbers of Palestinians in the West Bank and
Gazathe vast majority of which are innocent civilianstake
place on a daily basis, the unemployment rate has climbed over
50%, reaching around 80% in areas such as Rafah (Gaza), the poverty
reached a new unseen height by World Bank standards, access to
schools and universities by the student population as well as
teachers has been immensely hampered by more than 300+ check
points all over the West Bank and complete absolute closures on
Gaza as well as many West Bank cities and towns supported by a
planned 700 km wall that will create cantons and Bantustans of
open major prisons. At the same time, the Palestinian National
Authority is collapsing under tremendous external military and
economic pressure that causes internal rifts and disagreements
in how to respond. The educational, health, social, and cultural
services have become stretched to the limit in order to cope
with the immense demands by the ever increasing numbers of the
poor and vulnerable in Palestinian society and, at the same time,
the sewage, water, roads, electricity and other infrastructure
and houses are being demolished, destroyed or damaged. Moreover,
the vulnerable groups of society (women, children, elderly, sick,
disabled) have been suffering even further.
As all of the above human tragedies and disasters
are taking place at the same time, what are the priorities for
UK aid through bilateral and multilateral channels that may, if
implemented, first and foremost sustain and maintain Palestinian
minimal existence in the West Bank and Gaza as well as develop
the Palestinian society in terms of infrastructure, human resources
and institutional building?
UK INTERVENTIONS TO
The Welfare Association has identified the following
six areas to be considered by the Select Committee as the main
priorities for UK DfID aid in the medium term:
1. Human resource development
The field of human resource development is vast
and varied and the needs are immense but from The Welfare Association's
point of view, the most important can be summarised as follows:
1.1 Development of infrastructure (building,
renovation, IT and internet, libraries etc), methods (curriculum,
equipment, technological and IT aids, materials, books etc) and
quality (teacher training, quality control) to ensure the improvement
in access, quality and quantity in formal and non-formal education
to cover pre-schools, nurseries and KGs, primary and secondary
schools, vocational education/training institutions; colleges
and universities as well non-formal education establishments including
children development centres, cultural and sports clubs, women's
1.2 Training children and youth on the use
of IT as a tool to achieve further knowledge, skills and therefore
new opportunities for employability as well to gain accessibility
for further knowledge and learning across the check points and
closures. This would be achieved through the systematic introduction
of computers and other IT hardware and software to KGs, schools,
colleges, vocational training and cyber/knowledge centres as well
as improving IT training curricula and training of teachers and
youth on programming, using of software as a tool for advanced
design and exploration, networking, etc.
1.3 Dealing with emerging youth issues,
especially school leavers or drop-outs and offering them a way
out the desperation and gloom that they face, see and feel everyday
of their lives through increasing their awareness, tolerance,
cooperative attitudes, societal values and other life skills.
This could be achieved through the infrastructural and programmatic
development of sports clubs, youth cultural and social clubs,
scouts clubs etc as well as promotion of certain team sports or
2. Employment Generation
This issue must be seen as a priority as it
combines community development aspects with provision of desperately
needed jobs in the short- and medium-terms for thousands of unemployed
workers. Such employment generation can be in the following fields:
2.1 Building, renovation or expansion of
new KGs, schools, colleges and university buildings to meet the
ever increasing population (current population increase amounts
to 3.5% a year) which means that around 100 new KGs and schools
are needed every year in the coming five years.
2.2 Building, expansion and/or renovation
of community centres and social, cultural and sports clubs especially
those serving the vulnerable groups such as the physically and
mentally disabled and the old as well as socially deprived groups
including women, children and youth.
2.3 Rehabilitation of infrastructure damaged
by the Israeli re-occupation of towns and villages or expanding
them to meet the demands of the increasing population such as
roads, electrical, water and sewage networks.
2.4 Repair of houses of innocent civilians
and public buildings damaged through the recent re-invasion and
continuous bombardment by the Israeli army.
3. Preservation of Cultural and Religious
In times of war and unrest, one of the first
casualties is the historic sites and monuments in Palestine that
represent the most significant Christian and Islamic heritage
and even from earlier times. Such sites are situated mainly in
the old city of Jerusalem and its surroundings, Bethlehem, Nablus,
Hebron, Jericho and many other sites. More significantly is that,
in certain cities, the old historic sites are still inhabited
by people which makes them into living historical monuments rather
than just historic sites such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus
and Hebron. Such preservation activities may take the following
3.1 Preservation and restoration of Historic
sites Jerusalem, Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron.
3.2 Rehabilitation and restoration of historic
homes, centres and other monuments damaged mainly in Nablus, but
also in Bethlehem and Hebron.
3.3 Development of community awareness programs
for the preservation of historic sites.
3.4 Development of databases for the documentation
of historic sites.
3.5 Development of training schemes for
contractors, engineers and skilled labor in preservation, restoration
and traditional handicrafts and materials used in restoration.
4. Micro-credit to support private sector
sustainability and initiatives
There is a dire need in Palestine amongst many
sub-sectors within the private sector for obtaining of small short-
to medium-term loans given at concessionary rates and/or favourable
terms so as to facilitate the starting of new initiatives, expansion
of old businesses and/or for other matters that are vital to the
development and future security of Palestinians especially to
businesswomen initiatives. Such loans are needed in the fields
4.1 Industry and industrial manufacturing.
4.2 Provision of essential services (health,
4.3 Information Technology.
4.4 Student loans.
4.5 Building of houses or office block/industrial
5. Institutional building within Palestinian
Developing of civil society and its institutions
is of prime concern to the Welfare Association. The Palestinian
society in the West Bank and Gaza (and also within Israel) is
very rich with its civil and voluntary non-governmental institutions
borne out of need during 35+ years of Israeli occupation. Today,
over 500 serious NGOs continue to provide essential services for
the community and complementing PA services in the fields of health
and disability, formal and nom-formal education, culture, social
and community services, human and citizens rights, democracy and
civil functions etc.
These NGOs need support in the following fields:
5.1 Institutional and capacity building
in order to provide effective and efficient services to the poor
5.2 Supporting development projects run
by NGOs in the health, educational, cultural and social fields.
5.3 Development and implementation of laws
and regulations governing NGOs especially with regards to public
responsibility and complementation with government services.
5.4 Development and support for an NGO resource
foundation/centre that supports NGOs in building their capacities
and working within laws and regulations and promotion of best
practice amongst them.
6. Developing and Supporting institutions
in East Jerusalem
In 1968, and in contravention of UN resolutions
and international law, Israel annexed the occupied city of East
Jerusalem and applied its on laws to it, giving its citizens the
status of "permanent residents" rather than any type
of citizenship as a way to address the issue of annexing the land
but not the people. At the same time, Israel waged a clandestine
war against the civil institutions of East Jerusalem denying them
assistance, staff, clients and funding in an effort to ensure
their closure or their ineffectiveness in providing their services,
even recently closing some of them under the pretext of dealing
with the PA. As such, East Jerusalem residents especially those
who hold the orange ID (West Bank residents) rather than the blue
ID (Jerusalem residents) suffer from lack of quality and under-funding
in many sectors, especially education, social and welfare services
and other rights they are entitled to including the right to choose
to be treated (educated) in an Arab rather than a Israeli hospital
Therefore, there is an important need to support
the 300,00 people that reside in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhoods
in the following areas:
6.1 Development of infrastructure and service
support to Palestinian-based hospitals and other health facilities
such as Makassed, Augusta Victoria, St John and Red Crescent hospitals
and princess Basma Centre for Disabled Children.
6.2 Development and support of infrastructure
and service provision to non-governmental non-profit schools (such
as St George's, Husni Al-Ashhab, Rosary Sisters, etc), vocational
training centres and colleges (Orphans and Industrial schools)
and university (Al-Quds University).
6.3 Development and support of youth sports
and cultural centres and activities especially in the Old City
6.4 Development and support a network of
citizen's rights and advice bureaus to help tax-paying individuals
in accessing their rights in the fields health, education, social
welfare, building permits and against land confiscation, illegal
tax burden, denial of residency rights and other abuses of human
7. Supporting Development for Palestinian
Refugees in Lebanon
This is considered by The Welfare Association
as an important priority area for UK aid. The estimated 250,000
Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon are a particularly disadvantaged
community. In addition to their original loss of homes and flight
to Lebanon more than 50 years ago, their difficult situation has
been compounded by unstable residency in Lebanon, periods of violence
from internal and external wars and general instability affecting
the area. Lebanon has restricted the absorption of Palestinians
and legally regards refugees as "foreigners" which prevents
them from benefiting from the rights of citizens to health, education
and social services, as well as to unrestricted movement. UNRWA
provides only the most basic health and education services to
registered refugees and seriously under-serve actual needs: for
example, there is only one UNRWA-run youth centre and one community
rehabilitation centre serving all of the 12 camps.
Five per cent of children aged one to three
are malnourished (cf less than 1% in Jordan's camps) and another
4% are "vulnerable" children (cf 2% in Jordan's camps).
One in five refugees reports suffering from a chronic illness
and 1 in 5 takes medicine for psychological distress.
Educational level is low and illiteracy is high
among those aged 15 and older; 21% of children aged 7-18 have
never been enrolled in school. Significantly, there is high non-enrolment
among the young, especially males after age 11, and a high drop-out
rate. De-motivation is cited as the chief reason for dropping
out of school in the lower levels, displaced by economic reasons
in importance at higher educational levels. UNRWA provides basic
education but NGOs and private schools, and some government schools,
are the only sources of secondary education; only 10% of men and
7% of women complete the secondary level.
With regards to employment, refugees are formally
blocked from participating in most of the better employment sectors,
and are required to obtain work permits even for menial labour.
Seventy per cent of Palestinian households in Lebanon are in the
two lowest income brackets, compared to only 20% of Lebanese.
No Palestinian households are in the highest income brackets.
Proportionately Lebanon camps also have the
highest percentage of social hardship cases (11% of the population),
which UNRWA attributes to the fact of their low level of socio-economic
integration in the country, compared to only 3% in Jordan where
integration is the highest.
In particular, Palestinian refugee youth are
increasingly disaffected, and find that the systems that are available
to serve them are so inadequate or discriminatory that large numbers
are no longer actively seeking education or employment. Without
alternative systems in place, their ability to contribute to their
own future and to the welfare of their community is lost or sorely
compromised. These youth soon become hopeless and are forced to
be dependent on already economically strained households.
The following priorities for development of
Palestinians refugees in Lebanon have been identified by The Welfare
7.1 Development of disability centres working
within the refugee camps with particular emphasis on children
and youth, including building, supplying of specialized educational
and medical equipment and material; training trainers and workers
supporting education and awareness of disabled and families, adaptation
of certain sections of disabled home (toilet, kitchen ) etc.
7.2 Development of early childhood education
in the camps through active learning by developing and expanding
KGs, supplying them with educational equipment and materials,
training of trainers and teachers and upgrading of curriculum.
7.3 Development of vocational training courses
and activities, including upgrading of infrastructure and facilities,
provision of educational equipment and material, training of trainers
and teachers, development of curriculum and supporting poor students
with scholarship and loans.
7.4 Development of non-profit health facilities
and hospitals providing with the refugee population in order to
cope with their primary and secondary needs.
7.5 Development of micro-credit schemes
in the fields of cottage industries, industrial workshops and
other small ventures as well as student loans to study and improve